September is National Preparedness Month or NPM which was originated to remind us that emergencies can affect anyone at anytime, anywhere. No matter if you are at home, work, or on the road, disasters are possible and it’s essential to be prepared for when an emergency happens.
Last year FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security launched a campaign theme called “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” The success of the theme has led to its return this year with an emphasis on creating an emergency plan for your family.
When disasters strike families are usually not all together, children are at school, parents/grandparents are often out of the house or at work, and pets are at home. It is important to have a plan to reunite your family and know how to get in touch with one another. There are three steps to making an emergency communications plan:
Gather a paper copy of all important family documents (e.g. birth certificates and licenses), household information, and contacts of doctors, schools, and service providers. Also make a list of people to contact including neighbors and an out of state relative or friend that can assist with helping your family reunite.
It is important that everyone has a copy of the plan either in their backpack, purse, or wallet. A wallet-sized card is a great option for keeping the plan with you at all times. In addition, make sure a copy is displayed in your home and also kept in a safe secure location.
Have a household meeting to review and practice your plan frequently.
Making a plan is easy, and can help a family reunite during a disaster, find out how to make your plan here: ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Not only should adults be educated on disasters but children as well. Having a child memorize vital phone numbers is always important, but even more during disasters. However, also stress the importance of using text messages when an emergency strikes for it is often easier to communicate because of limited phone service. A fun interactive option for children to learn about how to be prepared for disasters can be found at ready.gov/kids.
Having an emergency communication plan in place is great, but it is also important to prepare a basic emergency kit, not only for your home but also your car. Having supplies for at least three days is essential. Packing an emergency bag with fresh water, non-perishable food, up-to-date medication, a radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and much more are essential in a time of emergency.
For more information check out ready.gov/september.